So, what does a forty-five-foot tall, forty-one-ton monument on private land, the Susquehannock Indians, an ex-bank president in Indian dress-up, and a magical place called Lockabar have in common? Well, historian Carl Becker once said it best, "history is an imaginative creation" and that tongue-in-cheek remark never bore more truth than the story of the [...]
Today I chatted with my good friend Tom “Tank” Baird about his passion for archaeology, and how he's become a local expert on the topic of prehistory and Native American cultures. I met Tank in 2005 when he rolled up to my dig site in Muncy on his Harley Davidson, with his beautiful, blonde [...]
Imagine going back 1,000 years ago to the banks of the West Branch of the Susquehanna River. At that time, the area was inhabited only by Native Americans. Tank Baird of Williamsport holds a piece of pottery which he and members of the North Central Chapter 8 of the Society for PA Archeology found [...]
Conflict between American Indians and white people escalated during the last two decades of the 18th century. War -- both declared and undeclared -- made for "dark and gloomy days," according to historian John F. Meginness in his 1,268-page tome, "History of Lycoming County" (1892).
Williamsport and Lycoming County have contributed many outstanding men and women to the field of public service during the years at the local, state and federal levels. One of the most distinguished of these was William Fisher Packer, who served as the 14th governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Packer is the only Lycoming County [...]
The life of Tunnison Coryell, one of Lycoming County's and Williamsport's most notable men of accomplishment and finance in the 19th century, spans the period of Williamsport evolving from a sleepy frontier village to a city of diverse great industries. John F. Meginness writes in his "History of Lycoming County," "Tunnison Coryell was closely associated [...]
America's oldest band in continuous existence bears his name, but Daniel Repasz didn't join the group until nine years after it was formed. Historian Mary Russell researches Repasz in a Lycoming County Historical Society Journal article, "Williamsport's Musical Heritage," and so does Jeffrey Dugan in his master's thesis, "The Bands of Williamsport." Dugan was [...]
In addition to Williamsport, Lycoming County consists of a number of important municipalities. A brief history of each, accompanied by historical photos, follows in the first of two parts. The second installment will be published May 22.
If Michael Ross is noted as the founder of Williamsport, William Hepburn can be regarded as the "Father of Lycoming County." He is as firmly a part of the genesis of the county as Ross is of the city. In fact, Ross and Hepburn's lives would become intertwined. Hepburn was born in Donegal, Ireland, [...]
While Michael Ross was settling the City of Williamsport, selling parcels of land to frontier families and immigrants, another enterprising resident of the West Branch Valley was being hoodwinked from her home and business. Widow Smith's Walk Catherine Smith, an old woman "of great business tact and energy," had erected gristmills and sawmills [...]
Rachel Silverthorn warns the settlers (WPA mural) While Gen. George Washington's Continental Army fought the British, settlers along the Susquehanna River also considered themselves at war with the displaced Indians. Conflicts escalated daily. Rumors of a planned massacre of settlers were taken seriously. In August 1778, the Big Runaway began along the [...]
The Bailiff House at Muncy Terraces. Samuel Wallis was among the giants of early Lycoming County history -- probably the largest landholder in the area in the last 30 years of the 18th century. According to John F. Meginness' monumental "History of Lycoming County" written in 1892, Wallis was "the most energetic, [...]
Coin found at Long Reach Archaeology Dig Historic preservation is an admirable, though difficult, goal to obtain. Preservation works best in communities that have programs managed at the local government level. In 2003, Williamsport's City Council considered an amendment to a zoning ordinance that would result in new [...]
During the tumultuous years leading up to the French and Indian War, early settlers in Northcentral Pennsylvania had two choices: They could leave the fertile valleys of the Susquehanna, or take their chances with sporadic AmericanIndian raids during which farms were destroyed and entire families would be slaughtered.
Prehistoric American Indians skillfully managed the natural bounty of the Susquehanna River region by living in accordance with the seasons. They hunted, fished, gathered nuts, berries and other wild foods, and they cultivated corn, beans and squash. According to archaeologists, Indians were successful in populating the New World for more than 16,000 years -- [...]
New World history is filled with tales of frontier adventure, and here in the Susquehanna Valley, one of the most interesting tales is that of "Madame" Montour and the lost village of Otstonwakin. Her life is sketchy, almost mythic, but historians have confirmed that "Madame" Montour did indeed, lead an adventurous life on the French and [...]